Rafael Rivera is the new manager of food safety and production programs for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. In this position, he will help develop on-going programs to address the major regulatory and technical challenges facing poultry operations.

Rivera joins USPOULTRY from Perdue Farms where he worked on the broiler side of the company. He started at Perdue as a broiler service person after completing an M.S. degree in poultry science from North Carolina State University, which he attended after earning a B.S. in animal science from the University of Puerto Rico. Rivera’s processing experience began when he assumed the role of HACCP coordinator at one of Perdue’s slaughter and tray pack facilities. He followed this up with time as a quality assurance supervisor and with two years working on special projects.

“I am pleased to join the USPOULTRY team. USPOULTRY is made up of professionals in their fields who are committed to supporting the poultry industry,” remarked Rivera.

“We are excited to welcome Rafael to our organization. We are confident his strong food safety background will enhance USPOULTRY’s ability to serve the industry,” said John Starkey, USPOULTRY president.

Rivera explained the role that USPOULTRY plays working with the food safety and technical and regulatory committees of the other poultry organizations, such as the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and the United Egg Producers. “Our stance at USPOULTRY is that we are working closely with them [the other poultry associations] to avoid duplication of effort. We have pretty close relationships with them. Our role is to identify any research opportunities and see where we can develop any educational programs to allow the industry to continue its improvements and achievements in food safety.”

Rivera joins USPOULTRY during a time of great change in the regulatory framework under which the industry operates. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has proposed transitioning in-plant poultry inspection to a system based on HACCP-based Inspection Models Project, which requires the industry to take over many inspection tasks traditionally performed by USDA inspectors. The details of how the system will work and how the transition will take place are not final yet and have not been published. Rivera said, “We [USPOULTRY] will work with the companies within the regulatory framework to help them in the transition to the new inspection systems.”